Monday April 22, 2019

USA observing CPR and AED Awareness Week from June 1-7, to save lives from Cardiac Arrest

The month of June is designated to raise awareness for the practical purposes and training of CPR & AED

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CPR training: CPR is being administered while a second rescuer prepares for defibrillation. Image source: Wikipedia

Back in 2007, the American Heart Association, The American Red Cross, and the National Safety Council joined forces and worked fervently to assign one week of the year for CPR & AED Awareness. By December 13 2007, Congress declared that the first week of June will be recognized as CPR & AED Awareness week.

Unfortunately for the people who worked so hard to designate one week of the year to raise awareness on these two rescue tactics, the first week of June coincides with a nationally recognized holiday; Memorial Day. They have taken it upon themselves to recognize the month of June as CPR & AED Awareness Month, as opposed to just using the first week to recognize such an important topic.

CPR and AED Awareness posters. Image source: cpr.heart.org
CPR and AED Awareness posters. Image source: cpr.heart.org

The purpose of raising awareness of this first aid training tactic is simple; to save lives. According to the American Red Cross, cardiac arrest is the one of the main causes of death in adults. These sudden cardiac arrests typically happen in homes. The mission of raising awareness is also to ensure that at least one person in every household has received CPR & AED training and can properly aid anyone who may need that specific medical attention.

CPR stands for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. It is a rescue technique that one individual applies to another who is suffering from cardiac arrest. It is a series of actions that includes compressing on an individual’s chest and breathing air into their lungs. The goal is to ensure that a person’s blood circulation and oxygen in their body stay at functioning levels.

An AED machine in Akihabara Wikimedia Commons
An AED machine in Akihabara. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. An AED is a machine that you can find attached to walls in many public locations. The defibrillator is used in very serious situations. When used, it restores an individual’s electrical signals to their heart. In these serious situations, if the AED is not used it could result in death or incapacitation.

The importance of CPR & AED is very blatant for anyone to see. It must be noted that these life saving tactics cannot be properly maneuvered if one has not been trained to do so. The attention CPR & AED Awareness Week/Month receives is beneficial to all. Many CPR/AED classes are available for people to take, and information is obtainable. Local events are typically hosted for the awareness week, and The American Heart Association encourages you to look into classes. The AHA also has free printable documents, which you can use to spread the word about CPR & AED Awareness Week in your very own community.

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Architecture of US Homes Tell Story of America

From colonials to Victorians to ranch-style houses and McMansions, the story of American residential architecture is that it tends to be eclectic

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america, architecture, US homes
A home built in the colonial style in New Castle, New Hampshire. (Photo by Carol Highsmith) VOA

The architecture of American homes is a lot like America itself, a hodgepodge of different styles from different countries often melded together into one whole.

From colonials to Victorians to ranch-style houses and McMansions, the story of American residential architecture is that it tends to be eclectic.

“The history of American residential architecture has always been kind of like an all-you-can-eat buffet,” says architect Susan Piedmont-Palladino, director of Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center. “We can borrow anybody’s style of architecture and I’m not sure that’s the attitude in other countries around the world. I also think we’re dominated by the single family house in a way that other places aren’t.”

US homes, america, architecture
Castle Rock, completed in 1950 in Quasqueton, Iowa, is one of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s most complete “Usonian” homes. (Photo by Carol Highsmith) Photo: Library of Congress. VOA

What that single family home looks like can vary.

“Most houses built today do not reflect any one style, but integrate ideas from many cultures,” Jackie Craven, a journalist who specializes in architecture and fine arts, told VOA via email. “A single house can have a French-inspired mansard roof, Grecian columns, and English Tudor-inspired timbering. Our homes, like our people, draw from many sources.”

architecture, america, US Homes
Built in 1930, this neoclassical Georgian home in Dallas, Texas, is a near-replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home in Virginia. (Photo by Carol Highsmith). VOA

After the American Revolution, the architecture of public buildings often borrowed from Greece and Rome to express democratic ideals of order and symmetry. This neoclassic style also extended to private homes, notably Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

The long reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria, from 1837 until 1901, occurred during a time of American prosperity. Mass-production of building parts allowed for the construction of elaborate, affordable Victorian-style houses throughout the country.

US homes, architecture, america
The Pollock-Capps House is a Victorian mansion built in 1898 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Carol Highsmith). VOA

The style of American homes has often reflected what the country itself is experiencing.

“During the Industrial Revolution, steel transformed the American landscape. The strength of this new metal made skyscrapers possible, rebuilding Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871,” says Craven. “The lavish Gilded Age mansions of the late 1800s and modern-day McMansions both reflect the conspicuous consumption of a powerful wealthy class. Minimalist post-Victorian architecture rebelled against excess, and the 20th century brought new solutions for affordable housing. Catalogue companies like Sears sold mail order house kits, making home ownership achievable even during the Depression.”

US home, architecture, america
The Rosenbaum House, built in Florence, Alabama, in 1939, is the only structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the state. (Photo by Carol Highsmith). VOA

The architect who most defined American residential architecture might well be Frank Lloyd Wright, who eschewed the idea of borrowing architecture from Europe or anywhere else.

In the first half of the 20th century, up until the 1950s, Wright’s designs and philosophy brought a new American modernity to the single family home. He pioneered housing features — such as low horizontal lines and open floor plans — that can still be found in suburban America today.
us home , america, architecture
A Cape Cod-style home, a simple, rectangular structure, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. (Photo by Carol Highsmith) VOA

“He was very interested in a relationship with the land…this idea of relating terraces and the gardens and the landscape into the house…the roof would extend out, blurring the boundaries between inside and out,” Piedmont-Palladino says. “Wright really pioneered the unique architecture, and little bits of it do still show up. There’s a little Frank Lloyd Wright DNA in split-level houses and ranch houses still.”

The simple Cape Cod, a derivative of American colonial houses, and the ranch house, more reflective of America’s modernism, both dominate all of the other residential architectural styles in the United States, according to Craven.

US home, architecture, america
A ranch-house-style home in Sun City, a historic suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Carol Highsmith) VOA

Wright would probably be horrified by today’s oversized neo-colonials. Derisively dubbed ‘McMansions,’ these homes borrow loosely from classic architectural styles of the past.

What will the next dominant style of American house be? Piedmont-Palladino is concerned that the home-building industry doesn’t appear prepared to take on the challenge of building better-performing houses.

america, us homes, architecture
Today’s eclectic oversized houses, built in traditional styles, seen here in St. Louis, Missouri, have been referred to as “McMansions.” (Photo by Flickr user Paul Sableman via Creative Commons.) VOA

“I would like to be optimistic and think that, in a generation, the dominant language of American house construction is sustainable and that we would start to look at building environmentally responsibly, so that houses perform better. This is one of the big issues that is confronting us,” she says. “Houses are getting bigger and bigger and less efficient, even as our families are getting smaller.”

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In addition to eco-friendly designs, Craven also envisions more avant-garde architecture with unusual shapes. New digital software can easily manipulate classic shapes, giving them a curvy or lopsided twist that could hit home in a modern way. (VOA)